Kirkuk is a city dear to many Kurds. Its incorporation into Kurdish Regional Government will dramatically shorten Kurdish timetable for full independence.
Oil was found in Kirkuk in 1934 and soon the area became the center of oil production in northern Iraq. Kirkuk oil fields to this day produce 500,000 barrels a day (Iraq's total oil exports is 2.2 million bpd). Kirkuk's reserves are more than 10 billion barrels.
(Correction: The original version of this post had put Kirkuk's production at 1 million bpd. Thanks to one of our loyal readers, who is an authority on oil trade, we revised the number to 500,000 bpd.)
File photo: Kurdish Peshmergas (skyscrapcity)